What We Can Control

For many people it feels like the world is spinning out of control. Do you feel it too? It can be unsettling. We can’t control the situation around us, but we can control how we respond to it. How we respond to life’s challenges shapes and defines who we are.

If you look at it this way, it’s a unique opportunity. This is a defining moment in history. It’ll be the “where were you” moment of our time. We’ll tell our grandkids about it. The real question is, what will we tell them?

We can’t control the situation around us, but we can control how we respond to it.

I’m still figuring this out for myself, but here’s what I know: no matter what happens to us, we can decide how to respond to it. If your best friend calls you and tells you you’re a bad person, there are several ways you can respond. You can scream back and tell her she sucks too. You can quietly hang up. You can listen and try to figure out what’s really bothering her, offer a shoulder and maybe bring her take-out. Or you may decide to remove a toxic relationship from your life and wish her the best out of love for yourself and for her. There are countless responses available to you!

I’ve also learned that there are two basic emotions in our world and all other emotions stem from these two: Love and fear. I decided years ago to make my decisions from a place of love rather than fear and this time is no different. So I will do my best to act with intention and with love and compassion for others. Choosing not to make decisions from a place of fear doesn’t mean I’ll disregard the quarantining we’re doing and be reckless. Quite the opposite, actually. I’ll keep limiting my physical activities and maintain my distance for the love of my neighbors and friends and for our medical workers who are on the front lines.

Instead, I’ve been finding quiet ways to use my down time, that in the past I would have thought of as “guilty pleasures.” I’ve been re-reading books on my bookshelf that inspire me. I’ve been imagining my perfect future and picturing what that looks like, because I believe strongly in the power of intention to manifest our best, most fulfilling life. I’m watching instructional videos to hone my skills, looking at art museums online and inhaling all the wonderful outpouring of love and creativity happening around me to stay connected. I’ve been calling (instead of just emailing) my parents. I’m continuing my art practice and thinking about how my art can benefit others. And the best one is starting and ending my days with thoughts of gratitude. I have much to be grateful for and gratitude is an expression of love. Try counting your blessings for a moment – it feels wonderful and light. You’ll relax instantly.

How we respond to life’s challenges defines who we are.

Can anything positive come from this? Absolutely! This is our challenge together. Just respond with what you want to see in the world and in yourself. Will you respond with love and purpose? Whatever you choose, it will be magnified during this time because we’re all looking for ways to stay connected. So we’re watching and reading each other. In my future, I want to look back at this time and be proud of the person I am at this moment, and reflect on what I learned and how I grew. What a tremendous opportunity.

  • You have such a wonderful gift, not only with how you paint on canvas but with the way you express your words on paper. I am so proud of you and your commitment to being the best you – you can be. It makes me stop and try to redefine my actions and responses as well. Thank you. Makes me realize that at some point, the children become the parent and the parent becomes the child, teaching us new ways to learn. I love you. Mom

    • Leslie,
      I wish I had known your art would be on display early this year in Breckenridge because Erich and his family were skiing there in February. They flew back to Jacksonville the day the slopes closed. Erich is a civil engineer and presently building the high-rise Brooklyn Vista in downtown JAX. Unfortunately, he doesn’t select art for the condos. I recall your father told me your first job offer was with US News & World Report as a graphic artist. I knew you would be successful no matter what career you chose. Congratulations on your success in the art world and living your dream. I know both your parents must be very proud of your accomplishments. Wishing you good health and continued success in the future,

      • Peggy, what a pleasure to hear from you!! And what a crazy coincidence that Erich and Cindy were in Breckenridge during my show there. Sorry we didn’t connect. I’ll send you an email to catch up. Hugs, Leslie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *